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Opinion / Editorial

The transformation of the National Liberation Army into a regular army was the main task of the Përmet Congress

The transformation of the National Liberation Army into a regular army was the

Sciences of Albania, in this 80th anniversary of the Liberation of the Motherland from the Nazi fascists and their collaborators for a special historical event, such as the CONGRESS OF PERMET that laid the "foundations" of the new Albanian State that had been "outlined" by the Peza Conference, "decreed" by the Labinot Conference and which with its decisions led to the complete liberation of the country, with its de-alienation and the increase of the dignity of its own rights as a member of the Great Anglo-Soviet-American Anti-Fascist Coalition. This congress told the world about Albania that history will not be repeated as it was in 1913. "We must always be on the offensive. Whenever on the offensive, even when the enemy attacks, we must know how to destroy his plans." - this is how Enver Hoxha instructed in those harsh years of war in Documents of the General Staff, volume 1, page 462. "We started the war without the help of anyone", wrote E. Hoxha in work 2, page 192. The most important decision for successful development and ending with victory was the one "... on the transformation of the Albanian National Liberation Army into the regular Army of the New Albanian State. This is strongly written in the History of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War", vol. 4, pg. 67, because it constituted the support or as it is called otherwise, "the armed hand of the Albanian people". This meant: - Creation of Brigades, Divisions and Corps. -Unification of the General Command. -Implementation of combat planning. - The organized equipment with weapons and ammunition of the units and departments. - Establishing by law and granting military ranks as other armies of the time had. The granting of ranks and the determination of the uniform would ensure that the external appearance had the character of a regular army. - The transition to the form of a new state would also bring about the establishment of mandatory, but also voluntary, service. So rightfully, a lot has been said and written about the place and the role that the Përmet Congress played in the history of LANÇ in Albania and about the Albanian state itself. The Congress in terms of organization, development, time span, the tasks it set, the decisions it took has no comparison with the previous Assemblies and Congresses, no matter how many politicians and historians ignore this fact. Surely, in the future even more will be written and spoken because in our national history we have also had other Congresses and Assemblies, but like the Përmet Congress, none of them managed to take such Decisions, implement them until the end of consolidating the New Albanian State. It was that congress that elaborated the platform and raised the spirit of the Albanian people higher and that would declare to the Peace Conference in Paris in 1946, through its representative Enver Hoxha: "I have not come here to give an account, but to I demand accountability". And this had its origins in the Historical Decisions of the Congress of Përmet, where the most important decision was:The transformation of the Albanian National Liberation Army into a regular army because it was required by the historical moment, the stage that the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War had reached in Albania, because that Army would constitute the full support and would remain (as it did) the armed wing of the Albanian people for Liberation of the country and to protect the victory achieved. It was exactly that time when the slogan "Army - Guarantee" was born. The transformation of the National Liberation Army into a regular army, without changing its character, meant the fact that without a regular Army, the country could not be liberated and that the time of Squads, Battalions and Partisan Groups had passed. For these reasons, the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Army had to be transformed into a complete and well-organized Army, starting with: Its structural organization, eventually moving into brigades, corps divisions, with centralized direction and command with General Command and General Staff . It would be this Command and this General Staff that would plan the operational and strategic plans up to the combat actions that would be carried out by the tactical-operational units. In the complex, military life in the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Army had to take the form and appearance of a completely orderly, disciplined, hierarchical Army with ranks and uniforms. This required the unification of clothing as far as possible while preserving the symbols that the Peza Conference put the "red five-pointed star" on the waistcoat and red partisan scarf. The practical implementation of this decision began on May 28, 1944, when the first Assault Division was created and the order was given to cross the Shkumbin River in the North for the liberation of all of Albania. From here began the "General Education" for the complete liberation of 1882 days of bloody war and which ended on November 29, 1944. The security of the works of the Congress of Przemy?l was organized according to the order of the General Staff of May 1, 1944, which emphasized: "The protection at all costs” and ordered the First Zone Headquarters, the 5th Assault Brigade and the 8th Assault Brigade, as well as three other brigades in the third defensive encirclement to take appropriate measures. I only want to speak as a participant in the preservation of one of the closest and main directions leading to Përmet, that of Gjirokastër-Çajup-Përmet and then Tepelënë-Lekël-Këlcyre-Përmet. The measures requested by the General Staff in the Order of May 1, 1944 were: "Not a single foot of the enemy shall cross the region and city of Përmeti!" "To take strategic positions and block the roads leading to Përmet". "To protect the region and the city at all costs". Without detailing why and what would happen. In the first days of May 1944, we were in Zagori, in Ndëran-Topovë, and we knew nothing of what would happen later. Late one afternoon, we moved to the west of the Çajup Pass, to Erind-Labovë-Lekël, almost as if on war alert.Placing in those widespread terrains in a defensive position, as well as the development of some short tactical exercises and the preparation with circumstantial means of chest protection positions, made us believe and be ready that something special and important would happen. Our minds wandered to the many enemy operations to which we had become accustomed in that wild winter. Therefore, until May 15, every action was carried out in complete secrecy. We, the simple partisans and low-level commanders, had received the task: "To fight "meter by meter" and not to let go of the assigned directions". To check and stop any suspicious entrances and exits in the direction we were protecting, which seemed to us something rare, because our tactical principle then was: "Strike like lightning and disappear like the wind". In fact, we had to defend the positions "at all costs". On the second fifteenth day of May, when the entire region to the right of Vjosa from Përmet to Perat-Leskovik and Frashër was blocked by the VS Brigade and the southwestern one Gryka e Pogoni, Gryka e Selckë, Kafa e Çajupi and Tepelenë-Kelcyre-Përmet from VIII S Brigade and First Group, then, there was open talk about the meeting of the Congress, because we also elected by open vote our four delegates to the Congress. On the footpaths to Çajup, delegates from other areas passed and concentrated in Sheper. And in fact, the Congress was directly defended by two Partisan Brigades and two groups of the first operational zone and in the distant district by three other brigades. But the most dangerous direction, the one to the right of Vjosa, Përmet- Tre urat- Leskovik- Frashër- Dangëlli, was protected by the 5th Brigade, which also encountered the enemy who was trying to carry out reconnaissance by fighting even before the beginning of the Congress and defeated them by taking "captives" and brought 20 of them as a 'gift' to the Congress on its opening day. The enemy made efforts in other southwestern directions, where the 8th Brigade was defending, but without success. Përmet, as a city, was defended in the first district by the company of the General Headquarters of the Albanian National Liberation Army and that of the Headquarters of the First Operative Zone and the territorial forces. The delegates and the leadership of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War, as a result of the strict conspiracy at the beginning and the organizational work, during the works, they were provided with peaceful and satisfactory working and living conditions, in the circumstances of war. As a result of these safeguards, the Congress ended successfully and without any disturbance. The decision to transform the Albanian National Liberation Army into a Regular Army began on May 28, 1944, with the creation of the First Assault Division, which would be followed by others, as well as three corps as well as the awarding of military ranks to some of the cadres. and other partisans right there in Congress. With us, the partisans and the popular mass behind him, an extraordinary work was done for the recognition of the Historical Decisions of the Përmet Congress.The glory of the Përmet Congress will live on for centuries because it has its roots in the blood of Albanian partisans and martyrs of the homeland.

Note: this speech was given at the commemorative meeting that was organized at the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Albania on May 24, 2024 in Tirana.